Thermostat wiring connector
A thermostat for controlling an HVAC system includes wiring terminals adapted and configured to make an electrical connection with an HVAC system wires such as common, heating and cooling control and return wires. The making of the connection with a common wire actuates switching open a loop of an electrical circuit used for power harvesting. The wiring terminal includes actuation of a moveable part of the terminal so as to accommodate the common wire that in turn actuates the switching open the power harvesting loop. More than one other loop can be switched. The wiring terminal can be used to automatically connect and/or disconnect Rc and Rh circuits when one or both Rc and Rh wires are present. The wiring terminal can be used for electronically sensing the presence of the HVAC system wire.
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This patent application is a continuation of Ser. No. 13/034,666 filed Feb. 24, 2011, which claims the benefit of U.S. Prov. Ser. No. 61/415,771 filed Nov. 19, 2010; and of U.S. Prov. Ser. No. 61/429,093 filed Dec. 31, 2010. The subject matter of this patent application also relates to the subject matter of the following commonly assigned applications: U.S. Ser. No. 12/881,430 filed Sep. 14, 2010; U.S. Ser. No. 12/881,463 filed Sep. 14, 2010; U.S. Ser. No. 12/984,602 filed Jan. 4, 2011; U.S. Ser. No. 12/987,257 filed Jan. 10, 2011; U.S. Ser. No. 13/034,674 entitled “Thermostat Circuitry for Connection to HVAC Systems,” filed Feb. 24, 2011; and U.S. Ser. No. 13/034,678 entitled “Thermostat Battery Recharging During HVAC Function Active and Inactive States,” filed Feb. 24, 2011. Each of the above-referenced patent applications is incorporated by reference herein.COPYRIGHT AUTHORIZATION
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document may contain material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.BACKGROUND
This invention generally relates to control systems for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. More particularly, embodiments of this invention relate to wiring connectors for use in HVAC system thermostats.
As is known, for example as discussed in the technical publication No. 50-8433, entitled “Power Stealing Thermostats” from Honeywell (1997), early thermostats used a bimetallic strip to sense temperature and respond to temperature changes in the room. The movement of the bimetallic strip was used to directly open and close an electrical circuit. Power was delivered to an electromechanical actuator, usually relay or contactor in the HVAC equipment whenever the contact was closed to provide heating and/or cooling to the controlled space. Since these thermostats did not require electrical power to operate, the wiring connections were very simple. Only one wire connected to the transformer and another wire connected to the load. Typically, a 24 VAC power supply transformer, the thermostat, and 24 VAC HVAC equipment relay were all connected in a loop with each device having only two external connections required.
When electronics began to be used in thermostats the fact that the thermostat was not directly wired to both sides of the transformer for its power source created a problem. This meant either the thermostat had to have its own independent power source, such as a battery, or be hardwired directly from the system transformer. Direct hardwiring a “common” wire from the transformer to the electronic thermostat may be very difficult and costly. However, there are also disadvantages to using a battery for providing the operating power. One primary disadvantage is the need to continually check and replace the battery. If the battery is not properly replaced and cannot provide adequate power, the electronic thermostat may fail during a period of extreme environmental conditions.
Since many households did not have a direct wire from the system transformer (such as a “Common” wire), some thermostats have been designed to derive power from the transformer through the equipment load. The methods for powering an electronic thermostat from the transformer with a single direct wire connection to the transformer is called “power stealing” or “power sharing.” The thermostat “steals,” “shares” or “harvests” its power during the “OFF” periods of the heating or cooling system by allowing a small amount of current to flow through it into the load coil below its response threshold (even at maximum transformer output voltage). During the “ON” periods of the heating or cooling system the thermostat draws power by allowing a small voltage drop across itself. Hopefully, the voltage drop will not cause the load coil to dropout below its response threshold (even at minimum transformer output voltage). Examples of thermostats with power stealing capability include the Honeywell T8600, Honeywell T8400C, and the Emerson Model 1F97-0671. However, these systems do not have power storage means and therefore always rely on power stealing or must use disposable batteries.SUMMARY
According to some embodiments a thermostat is provided for controlling HVAC systems. The thermostat includes one or more wiring terminals each adapted and configured to make an electrical connection with an HVAC system conductive wire. The making of the connection with the HVAC system wire actuates switching in a loop of an electrical circuit that does not include the HVAC system conductive wire. According to some embodiments, making the connection with the HVAC wire switches open the loop, and the loop is used for power harvesting. For example the loop can include an HVAC wire for a controlling part of a cooling system and/or part of a heating system, and the wire connected to the terminal can be a common wire. According to some embodiments the making of the connection is used to electronically sense the presence of the HVAC wire. According to some embodiments, the making of the connection is used to automatically isolate Rc and Rh wires from each other when both are present. According to some embodiments, the wiring terminal includes actuation of a moveable part of the terminal so as to accommodate the HVAC system wire that in turn actuates the switching of the loop. According to some embodiments the wiring terminal actuates switching in more than one other loops. According to some embodiments the thermostat is primarily designed for controlling residential, and/or light commercial HVAC systems. According to some embodiments, the HVAC system has a cooling capacity of less than about five tones.
According to some embodiments a method of installing a thermostat in an HVAC system is provided. The method includes connecting an HVAC system conductive wire to a terminal in the thermostat; and, in response to the connecting, automatically actuating switching in a loop of an electrical circuit that does not include the HVAC system conductive wire.
According to some embodiments, a thermostat for controlling an HVAC system is provided that includes a wiring terminal adapted and configured to make an electrical connection with an HVAC system conductive wire, wherein connecting the HVAC system wire causes switching open of a loop of an electrical circuit used for power harvesting.
According to some embodiments, a wiring terminal for connecting to a conductive wire is provided. The terminal includes an opening to accept the conductor by actuating a moveable portion of the terminal so as to accommodate the conductive wire, wherein the actuating of the moveable portion actuates switching a loop of an electrical circuit that does not include the conductive wire.
As used herein the terms power “harvesting,” “sharing” and “stealing” when referring to HVAC thermostats all refer to the thermostat are designed to derive power from the power transformer through the equipment load without using a direct or common wire source directly from the transformer.
As used herein the term “HVAC” includes systems providing both heating and cooling, heating only, cooling only, as well as systems that provide other occupant comfort and/or conditioning functionality such as humidification, dehumidification and ventilation.
As used herein the term “residential” when referring to an HVAC system means a type of HVAC system that is suitable to heat, cool and/or otherwise condition the interior of a building that is primarily used as a single family dwelling. An example of a cooling system that would be considered residential would have a cooling capacity of less than about 5 tons of refrigeration (1 ton of refrigeration=12,000 Btu/h).
As used herein the term “light commercial” when referring to an HVAC system means a type of HVAC system that is suitable to heat, cool and/or otherwise condition the interior of a building that is primarily used for commercial purposes, but is of a size and construction that a residential HVAC system is considered suitable. An example of a cooling system that would be considered residential would have a cooling capacity of less than about 5 tons of refrigeration.
As used herein the term “common wire” when referring to HVAC systems refers to a direct wire from an HVAC power transformer that is in addition to the power or return wire to the transformer. Thus, power can be drawn from a circuit including the common wire and the power or return wire without risk of switching on or off relays, switches and/or contactors for operating various HVAC systems since those switching means are not in series in such a circuit.
As used herein the term “silent” or “silently” when referring to thermostat operation and/or control means that any sound made by the thermostat is generally inaudible to the human ear at a range of greater than 1 meter.
It will be appreciated that these systems and methods are novel, as are applications thereof and many of the components, systems, methods and algorithms employed and included therein. It should be appreciated that embodiments of the presently described inventive body of work can be implemented in numerous ways, including as processes, apparata, systems, devices, methods, computer readable media, computational algorithms, embedded or distributed software and/or as a combination thereof. Several illustrative embodiments are described below.
The inventive body of work will be readily understood by referring to the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
A detailed description of the inventive body of work is provided below. While several embodiments are described, it should be understood that the inventive body of work is not limited to any one embodiment, but instead encompasses numerous alternatives, modifications, and equivalents. In addition, while numerous specific details are set forth in the following description in order to provide a thorough understanding of the inventive body of work, some embodiments can be practiced without some or all of these details. Moreover, for the purpose of clarity, certain technical material that is known in the related art has not been described in detail in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the inventive body of work.
Thermostat 110 controls the HVAC system 120 through a number of control circuits. In particular, there are often separate control systems for heating and cooling. The heating system can include a low voltage, for example 24 VAC, operated gas valve which controls the flow of gas to the furnace; the cooling system includes a contactor having a low-voltage coil and high-voltage contacts which control energizing of the compressor; and the circulation system includes a fan relay having a low-voltage coil and high-voltage contacts which control energizing of the fan which circulates the conditioned air. The electrical power for energizing such low-voltage operated devices is provided either by a single transformer 260 for both heating and cooling, or by two separate transformers 260 for heating and 262 for cooling. Often, a single transformer is provided when the heating and cooling system is installed as a complete unit. If the cooling system is added to an existing heating system, sometimes an additional transformer is used.
An electronic programmable thermostat that requires power from the HVAC system is provided. The thermostat is flexible in that it can be installed in buildings having different types of HVAC systems. In particular, the thermostat can be wired directly to an HVAC system having a common wire, so that the thermostat can draw power directly from the power transformer, it can be wired to an HVAC system which does not have a common wire, so the thermostat can draw power using power harvesting circuitry from the HVAC system control loops. In order to have a single thermostat that can be connected to either type of HVAC system (i.e. with our without a common wire), the thermostat must detect which power sources are present and then draw power from the best available power source.
Relay 370 controls the gas valve for the HVAC heating system. When sufficient AC current flows through the gas valve relay 370, gas in the heating system is activated. The gas valve relay 370 connected via a wire to terminal 334, which is labeled the “W” terminal, on thermostat 310. Relay 372 controls the fan for the HVAC heating and cooling systems. When sufficient AC current flows through the fan relay 372, the fan is activated. The fan relay 372 connected via a wire to terminal 340, which is labeled the “G” terminal on thermostat 310. Contactor (or relay) 374 controls the compressor for the HVAC cooling system. When sufficient AC current flows through the compressor contactor 374, the compressor is activated. The contactor 374 connected via a wire to terminal 330, which is labeled the “Y” terminal, on thermostat 310. The heat power transformer 360 is connected to thermostat 310 via a wire to terminal 336, which is labeled the “Rh” terminal. The cooling power transformer 362 is connected to thermostat 310 via a wire to terminal 332, which is labeled the “Rc” terminal. Note that unlike the HVAC system shown in
Thermostat 310 has a number of components that are not shown. For further details of components of thermostat 310, according to some embodiments, see co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/034,674 entitled “Thermostat Circuitry for Connection to HVAC Systems,” and Ser. No. 13/034,678 entitled “Thermostat Battery Recharging During HVAC Function Active and Inactive States,” filed Feb. 24, 2011, both of which are incorporated herein by reference. Thermostat 310 has power harvesting circuitry 320, including circuitry 322, 324 and 326 for harvesting power from the cooling control circuit 666, heating control circuit 364 and a common wire, which is not available in the HVAC system shown in
Note that although the HVAC systems shown in
The connector 400 also includes one or more pairs of secondary conductors such as secondary conductor 460 and 462. The two conductors within each secondary conductor pair are in contact with one another when the there is no HVAC wire conductor inserted in connector 400, such as shown in the
When an HVAC wire conductor is inserted in connector 400, as shown in
According to some embodiments, the connector 400 shown in
The first primary conductor 630 is made of metal is shaped so as to be stable in the position shown in
As in the case of connector 400 of
When an HVAC wire (not shown) is inserted, it passes through the conical opening 604, cylindrical opening 606, and through the window portion 632 of first primary conductor 630. The HVAC wire conductor is also held in place by contacting the upper flat portion 646 of the second primary conductor 640. The spring force from the deformation of conductor 630 acts to urge the HVAC wire into contact with both the lower portion of the window 632 of conductor 630 and the lower surface of the upper flat portion 646 of conductor 640. The HVAC wire is thus maintained securely in connector 600 and in electrical contact with both conductor 630 and conductor 640. Additionally, when an HVAC wire conductor is inserted in connector 600 the lever portion 612 of button 610 is positioned as shown such that the secondary conductors 660 and 662 are not in contact with one another. In particular, the conductor 662 is shaped such that it exerts a spring force towards the lever portion 612 and away from the upper portion of conductor 660. Thus, when the HVAC wire conductor is inserted in the connector 600 the contact between conductor 660 and conductor 662 is broken. The same action takes place in the other two pairs of secondary conductors such that the electrical connection in all three pairs of secondary conductors is broken by the pressing of button 610. The connector 600 thus acts to automatically actuate switches formed by each secondary conductor pair when an HVAC wire conductor is inserted.
Note that the primary conductors 630 and 640 are not normally in electrical contact with each other when there is no wire inserted, and when a wire is inserted, the two primary conductors 630 and 640 are electrically connected through the inserted wire. Thus, a normally-open switch is formed by the pair of primary conductors 630 and 640 which can be used for detection of electrical communication with an inserted wire, and/or high current applications, due to the relatively large contact surfaces on conductors 630 and 640.
According to some embodiments, the connector 600 shown in
Backplate 740 also includes, according to some embodiments, a bubble level 762, a connector block 780 for connection to the head unit 702, and a body 760 for housing electronics.
Additionally, each connector shown in
Although the foregoing has been described in some detail for purposes of clarity, it will be apparent that certain changes and modifications may be made without departing from the principles thereof. It should be noted that there are many alternative ways of implementing both the processes and apparatuses described herein. Accordingly, the present embodiments are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and the inventive body of work is not to be limited to the details given herein, which may be modified within the scope and equivalents of the appended claims.
1. A thermostat for controlling an HVAC system comprising:
- a plurality of wiring terminals each adapted and configured to make an electrical connection with one of a plurality of HVAC wires, wherein each wiring terminal includes: a main body; a channel opening that is positioned on a first side of the main body, the channel opening being configured to enable insertion of a respective HVAC wire of the plurality of HVAC wires into an interior of the main body, the respective HVAC wire being inserted so as to make an electrical connection between the thermostat and the respective HVAC wire; a first conductor that is disposed within the main body so that a contact portion of the first conductor is positioned along an insertion path of the respective HVAC wire, the first conductor being configured so that the contact portion is displaceable to accommodate insertion of the respective HVAC wire within the channel opening, the contact portion being spring biased toward the insertion path such that after insertion of the respective HVAC wire, the contact portion of the first conductor engages the respective HVAC wire and urges the respective HVAC wire into contact with a contact portion of a second conductor that is disposed within the main body, wherein the respective HVAC wire is maintained in electrical contact with the contact portions of the first conductor and the second conductor to retain the respective HVAC wire securely within the channel opening and in electrical contact with the thermostat; and a button that is coupled with the main body and operably coupled with the first conductor such that pressing the button displaces the contact portion from the insertion path thereby enabling removal of the respective HVAC wire from the channel opening.
2. The thermostat of claim 1, wherein each of the wiring terminals is configured such that a physical presence of the respective HVAC wire inserted into the wiring terminal is automatically detectable, and wherein at least one parameter of the HVAC system is controlled based on insertion of the respective HVAC wire.
3. The thermostat of claim 2, wherein controlling the at least one parameter includes switching of a loop of an electrical circuit that does not include the respective HVAC wire.
4. The thermostat of claim 3, wherein the loop enables power harvesting.
5. The thermostat of claim 1, wherein the plurality of wiring terminals are arranged about a back plate so that the channel opening faces an aperture in the back plate through which wires of the HVAC system are inserted.
6. The thermostat of claim 5, wherein the plurality of wiring terminals are arranged in two terminal blocks on opposing sides of the aperture of the back plate.
7. The thermostat of claim 1, wherein the plurality of wiring terminals are affixed to a back plate that includes a bubble level.
8. The thermostat of claim 1, wherein the first conductor is positioned around a fulcrum member that is disposed within the main body so that the first conductor pivots about the fulcrum member.
9. The thermostat of claim 1, wherein the thermostat further comprises a back plate and a head unit that is attached to the back plate, the back plate being electrically connectable to the head unit.
10. The thermostat of claim 9, wherein the thermostat further comprises a central display that displays information to a user.
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Filed: Sep 14, 2016
Date of Patent: Jun 4, 2019
Patent Publication Number: 20170003696
Assignee: Google LLC (Mountain View, CA)
Inventors: John Benjamin Filson (Mountain View, CA), Daniel Adam Warren (San Francisco, CA), Anthony Michael Fadell (Portola Valley, CA), Sheng-Nan Yu (New Taipei)
Primary Examiner: Ljiljana V. Ciric
Assistant Examiner: Alexis K Cox
Application Number: 15/265,305
International Classification: G05D 23/19 (20060101); F24F 11/30 (20180101); F24D 19/10 (20060101); B01D 46/00 (20060101); G05B 15/02 (20060101); H01R 9/24 (20060101); G05B 13/02 (20060101); F24F 11/62 (20180101); F24F 11/89 (20180101); H04W 4/70 (20180101); F24F 110/00 (20180101); F24F 110/10 (20180101); F24F 120/10 (20180101); F24F 140/60 (20180101); F24F 11/32 (20180101); F24F 130/40 (20180101); F24F 120/20 (20180101); F24F 11/63 (20180101); F24F 11/64 (20180101); F24F 11/56 (20180101); F24F 11/61 (20180101); F24F 11/46 (20180101); F24F 11/52 (20180101); F24F 11/39 (20180101); F24F 11/47 (20180101);